Baking, Cakes, Catering, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Recipes

There’s no chocolate in it honestly!

As you may have noticed  I  have a ‘slight’ addiction to cookbooks. I also have a tendency to collect recipes from magazines, newspapers etc  – I have a box of pages and clippings from various publications that I have garnered from numerous sources ………..

Some look tantalising when I’m in the hairdressers or in a waiting room but once assigned to the ‘box’ they never leave, others make it straight to the kitchen for testing and some even go on to become firm favourites.

One such find was a recipe for an Espresso Tart – I think it came from a Food & Travel magazine and my apologies for not acknowleding the original owner of this recipe but your details aren’t on my valued clipping.

I’m not really a dessert person but I do like this (must be the caffeine).  Almost everyone who tastes it is convinced there’s chocolate in it but as you’ll see there’s none.

This  tart is divine on it’s own but can be raised to another level if you serve it with a mascarpone sorbet. I often make it into individual tartlets to serve at dinner parties and it’s always well received

Individual Espresso Tart with Sorbet

I brought one of these tarts to Inishfood in May and I’ve been asked to share the recipe – so this is especially for Donal, Imen and Bríd.

Espresso Tart

Oven Setting: 180ºC/ Gas 4

What you need:

  • Sweet Shortcrust Pastry *
  • 125g butter
  • 250g muscavado sugar
  • 2 tsp espresso coffee (finely ground – I use Illy)
  • 6 tbsp Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g self raising flour, sieved

What you do:

  • Line a 24cm loose bottomed tin with your pastry and leave to chill
  • For the filling, heat butter and sugar until sugar dissolves, then ad the coffee, liqueur and eggs.
  • Gently fold in the sieved flour and pour the mixture into the pastry case.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 mins – you want a ‘squidgy, fudgy’ texture- be careful not to overcook!
  •  Leave to cool before serving.
* I use 1lb flour, 8oz butter, 1-2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp caster sugar and a little water to make my pastry – this should give you    enough for 2 tarts. You don’t need to blind bake the pastry for this recipe.
Espresso Tartlets
As I said this tart can be served as an excellent dinner party dessert with ice cream or créme fraiche but best of all with mascarpone sorbet which is not as complicated as it sounds – please try it as the taste combination is divine!

Mascarpone Sorbet

What you need: 

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 250ml  milk (the proper full fat type please!)
  • 150g caster sugar

What you do: 

  • Whisk the  mascarpone with the milk until thick, smooth and lumpfree. Then stir in the sugar.
  • If you have an ice cream maker, pour in mix and leave to stir until thick and creamy, then freeze until needed.
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker then pour mix into tupperware box and freeze for an hour. Then whisk in frozen edges back into centre of mix to break up any ice crystals. Freeze for another hour then beat again. Repeat until sorbet is thick, creamy and frozen.

Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy – and now you know there’s no chocolate in it, honestly!

Happy Cooking !

 

Catering, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Beetroot & Goat’s Cheese Tartlets

Thursday is normally dinner night here – it’s when I try out new dishes and we sit down to taste them with a glass (or two!) of wine. Due to various work commitments this changed to Tuesday this week and I was all set to try out a cornbread recipe and a few new starter ideas ….until the phone rang at 5pm asking me to cater a breakfast meeting at 7.30 the  following morning.

Thankfully the main course of ‘Rioja-braised lamb shanks with chorizo & garlic’ from Lorraine Pascale’s book ‘Home Cooking Made Easy‘ was underway so I could devote myself to baking scones, muffins etc.

But then I realised we needed a starter so it was time for the store cupboard (my new fridge!)  and some inspiration ……..and that classic combination of beetroot & goat’s cheese! I had a packet of pre-made pastry cases that I wanted to try so it was tartlets for starters and they worked out well! They’re quick and simple so give them a go….

For 2 you need :

Goat's Cheese & Beetroot Tartlets

  • 2 pastry cases (I got mine in Marks & Spencers)
  • 2-3 cooked baby beetroot
  • 1 egg
  • approx 100ml Glenisk Cream
  • 30g St Tola Goat’s Cheese

What I did:

  • Cut beetroot into chunks and placed in pastry case
  • Whisk cream and egg together and pour over the beetroot (you probably won’t need all the mix)
  • ‘Dot’ the tartlet with cheese
  • Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 10 -12  mins until firm and golden
I served them with green leaves and a drizzle of Highbank Apple Syrup…
The Verdict – ‘we’ll have those again please!’
The Main course was absolutely divine and ideal for the current weather! I just had one little niggle – I could only get Knorr stock cubes and they made the sauce very salty! Note to self – get some other stock ….. 
Lamb Shanks with Rioja
 Thursday’s dinner is now likely to be something like a quick bowl of pasta. Wonder what I’ll try for next week’s tasting……….

Happy Cooking !

PS if you’re looking for the lamb shank recipe here it is http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rioja-braised_lamb_66249
Catering, Chef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Christmas Canapés

I make a lot of canapés – both for business and home entertaining. This year I’ve been asked for easy canapé ideas at my cookery demos so I thought I’d share a few of my favourites. I hope you like them!

Mini Tartlets

I used to make my tartlets from filo pastry – a rather long process but I came across the idea for these on holiday last year and they have made my life much easier!

To make the tartlets you need….

You need a mini-muffin tray, a packet of wonton wrappers, some sunflower oil and a pastry brush – brush each wonton sheet with oil and mould it into the muffin tin to make a small case. (This is much easier to demonstrate than explain!)

When you’ve filled the mini muffin tray sprinkle the cases with a little salt and bake at 200 C for 4 mins. Allow to cool on a wire rack and then use or store in airtight container for up to 4 days.

This is what your end product should look like:

Mini Tartlet

The possiblities are now endless….Some fillings I use are:

  • Avocado & crab topped with some créme fraiche and dill mustard
  • Red onion marmalade and Cooleeney  brie (put in oven for minute or two to soften the cheese)
  • Prawn cocktail
  • Thai beef salad
Crab & avocado tartlets
Red Onion Marmalade & Cooleeney Brie

Sticky Christmas Sausages 

This is another great recipe from my favourite Christmas book ‘Nigella’s Christmas’  and the best thing is that they can be prepared in advance and frozen  – just put mix and sausages in plastic bag and take out of freezer a few hours before your guests are due!

What you need:

  • 2lbs cocktail sausages (approx. 60)
  • 125 ml sweet chilli sauce
  • 60 ml cranberry sauce
  • 60 ml soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark muscovado sugar
  • Juice of 1 small orange
  • Juice of 1 lime

 What you do:

  • Mix together all the ingredients except the sausages to make glaze
  • Put sausages in foil tray (much easier than cleaning a roasting tray!)
  • Pour glaze over sausages and mix to coat.
  • Cook for 20 mins then turn and cook for another 10 -20 mins until they’re hot and sticky.
Sticky Christmas Sausages

Smoked Salmon/Trout Wraps

This is another quick and easy idea which doesn’t really need a recipe!

Smoked Trout Wraps

What you need:

  • Tortillla wraps (I find the Discovery ones the easiest to roll!)
  • Some Goatsbridge Smoked Trout  or some Smoked Salmon
  • Cream cheese

What you need:

  • Simply ‘butter’ your tortilla wraps with the cream cheese
  • Place strips of trout or salmon on the cheese
  • Season with a little black pepper and lemon juice then roll into a ‘tube’
  • If you have time wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge to set but otherwise trim the two edges, cut wrap into three then cut each piece into two diagonally (again this is much easier to show!)
  • Other fillings which work are roasted peppers, parma ham, pesto……..

Happy Cooking!